Glen Campbell: Good Times Again

Last night, I caught a melancholy show where Glen Campbell took us back to the many guests he had on his TV show. Not unlike, a similar review for Johnny Cash, Campbell had a wide variety of talented performers with whom he sang duets .

Fortunately, Campbell narrates the show which was filmed in 2007 before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Ironically, one of his guests was Linda Ronstadt who now has Parkinson’s Disease, so their duet of a James Taylor song “Carolina on my Mind” was especially poignant, with it such a reflective song.

He noted he likes harmonizing with female singers. He said he could sing under their voice more easily. In particular, he and Bobbi Gentry were so good together, they cut an album. They sang a beautiful rendition of “Let it be me” where there was obvious affection between the two, be it friendship or perhaps more. Maybe, that was the selling of the song, but their interaction made it special.

He also had memorable duets with Cher (“Just let me be Friends with you“) and Anne Murray (Don’t think twice, it’s alright”). He sang with Ray Charles, Ricky Nelson, B J Thomas, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash, as well. He noted his friendship with Nelson dated back to when he played guitar on Nelson’s albums. They sang a terrific rendition of “Louisiana Man.”

Additionally, the show was peppered with his own hits such as “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Gentle on my Mind,” the theme from “True Grit” and “By the Time I get to Phoenix.” What was especially nice about “Gentle on my Mind,” was he played with the writer of the song, John Hartford. That is very gracious to bring on the songwriter to play and sing with him. He also had a nice story about meeting John Wayne, whose daughter was a big fan. Through this meeting, he was asked by Wayne to act in the movie “True Grit.”

But, when you see him play, you are reminded that he is quite a good guitarist having played as a session musician on many albums as a member of the Wrecking Crew, a studio house band for Phil Specter’s wall of sound concept. He did several guitar licks while singing with his guests or on his own songs.

Since my parents watched the shows when they first aired, it was like stepping back into my childhood. Back then, you only had three choices on TV, so you watched as a family. If you have not seen the review show, it is worth the time. So, give it a peek.

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10 thoughts on “Glen Campbell: Good Times Again

  1. A little before my time but I do know the names you dropped. I also remember the 3 channels abc, nbc and cbs. The other channels were insignificant. Having just 3 channels wasn’t the only reason the whole family watched together. Most households only had one TV.

    • Very true about the one TV. It made us watch shows that the whole family could enjoy. My little sister was frightened by a show called “Lost in Space,” which looks cheesy now. But, we could not watch it as a result. Thanks for commenting.

      • I could handle Lost in Space, but Star Trek scared me. My cousin took me to her boyfriend’s house and sat me in front of the T V while they went to another room. It was the episode with the black and white man. Shivers.

      • I merged your comments together as it looked like a premature submit. Star Trek did have some scarier shows. If I recall correctly, that was the episode where the black/ white faced aliens hated each other because the black and white were on opposite sides. They had a lot of shows that showed the stupidity of racism. Alabama Governor George Wallace was apparently not watching.

  2. Note to Readers: This show is especially poignant as my mother has dementia. We are testing her for Alzheimer’s. She has trouble with who’s who and what’s what, but she can sing word for word old songs and recite poems. She can also read very well. I imagine Glen Campbell, on his fare well tour that expanded into 151 weeks, would have similar challenges getting to and from the stage, but once there could sing and play his songs.

  3. I particularly remember the show with the duet of Gentle on my Mind with John Hartford playing the banjo. It was awesome.

    There is another Campbell show, about 90 minutes as I recall, documenting his travails with Alzheimers, and his interactions with the family. They begin with his trying to tour for a while, and even when he forgot the music or the lyrics, he was still good. The band and the family were all so supportive. I can’t even imagine the emotional highs and lows they must have experienced, the highs of his doing well, the lows of his frustrations. In the end, he could not do it any longer.

  4. Note to Readers: I alluded to how Glen was invited by John Wayne to play in True Grit. This was the only film for which Wayne received an Oscar. Campbell’s role may have been a little over the top, but the role’s arrogance provided some fodder for Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn. Absent that, the movie may have dragged on, so Campbell deserves an atta boy. I do not do this to diminish the terrific job Kim Darby did in the movie, as she was outstanding as she stood up to both men, especially Cogburn .

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